'First flush' ceremony for new public toilet

January 10, 2008 8:32:17 PM PST
It's billed as the "first flush" - the ceremonial opening of a new public toilet on the streets of New York City.

The first of 20 public toilets under the city's street furniture contract with Spanish advertising giant Cemusa, Inc. opened Thursday at Madison Square Park in Manhattan.

Public toilets have been discussed for years in the city, and a temporary bank of public potties in Times Square got publicity when toilet paper company Charmin opened them in December for holiday shoppers.

The self-washing, wheelchair-accessible toilets cost 25 cents for 15 minutes before the toilet doors automatically open and a 60-second cleaning cycle begins after each use.

Cemusa won a bid in 2005 to install the toilets as well as 3,300 new bus shelters and 330 newsstands over a five-year period.